Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Another Bedroom Done

Mostly I post about gardening, but wanted to share our latest inside remodeling project. 

We started this process sometime in late winter/early spring.  There are many other things wanting our time so remodeling our house is a slow process.  We just live with a pile of furniture and boxes in another room while we work on the current room.  Also, we clean a lot as we go.  I can't stand having everything covered in dust all the time.  So, there is a lot of clean up between each step of the process.  I hate sanding.  Love painting and refinishing, but can do without the smell of the stain.  My wonderful husband runs the saw and paint sprayer for the ceiling.  I run the caulk gun and we share just about all the other tasks.  We usually talk, talk, talk while working or sing with the radio.  Someone always calls when we're in the middle of something messy.  Ha!

Now, we have finished the middle sized bedroom in our house.

It was lavender with paneling on the foundation walls.
This level of our home is half in the ground.

We went green, added crown molding, stained, sealed and/or repainted everything (including the ceiling), removed the paneling, etc down to the foundation so we could water proof it and put beaded ceiling boards up where the paneling used to be.

The closet had bi fold doors.

Now, the closet has French doors.

We have the same carpet.  When we're done with the other rooms, we'll have all the carpet replaced at once.

There was a very well built desk in this corner.  It was solid, but not very nice looking.  We had to take it out to remove the paneling and fix the wall so we just took it out completely.  Our current table will fit into the space and become my crafting space when we purchase a new table for the kitchen (a few years down the road).

There is a hole in the carpet where the cabinet for the desk used to be.  Not worried about it currently.

Just a little tour of our latest inside project.
  Hoping to move into this room so we can start on the master bedroom.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fourth Nest

This bunny is a silly rabbit.

It tried to make a nest in our front lawn.  We 'chased' it away from that project.
It made a nest near our compost site.  No baby bunnies.

Now, it is making a nest in the middle of my zinnias and dill.

Not sure if the bunny knows what it's doing.

No rain today.  I got out a few trusty garden tools and did a little dead heading and weeding.
Soooooo easy to pull weeds when the ground is wet. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Showers Bring Flowers

The rain is very nice for the flowers.  We got another .70" in the last twenty four hours.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A New Watering System

It is still pretty dry at Garden on Sherlock Street.  However, we have had a few showers and we aren't baking as much as last summer.

Two good things about not much mowing because the grass isn't growing and very few weeds as nothing wants to sprout right now. 

 Our city recently had two things happen which stressed our water supply.
1.  A major fire (thankfully no one was killed or injured).
2.  A water main burst near downtown because the ground is so dry it is shifting and the shifting put stress on an older water line which broke.

So, with anticipation of tighter watering restrictions in the near future, I've been experimenting with a way to water landscape plants if I can't use the faucets and soaker hoses.

I've seen many ways to use containers with holes in the bottom to let water leak slowly and soak in near a plant's roots.  Here's what I think will work for me.

I cut the spout off a milk jug. 

I wanted a large opening so I could pour water into it easily.

I put one small slit in the bottom corner under the handle.  I had many more and larger slits and holes in some I tested which let the water out way too fast.

The large opening also allows me to sit a clay pot in the milk jug.  The clay pot is needed as a weight to hold the jug in place once the water drains.  Without a weight, the empty jug would blow away in the wind.

I sit the jug next to a plant.  In this case a volunteer morning glory in the vegetable bed serves as the test plant.

Fill the jug with water and walk away.

It worked well.

My plan is to make a handful of these and move them to different plants each day using a bucket or two of bath water or rain water.  The plants may not thrive, but hopefully they'll survive to see a wetter growing season eventually.

Most of the vegetable garden has aqua cones in place for this type of watering.  They really help.  You can read about assembling the aqua cones in a previous post.

In other news, I have the tallest native annual sunflower I've ever grown.  The top flower is even with the gutter on the garage.  These are getting no extra water.

Garden on Sherlock Street continues to be an oasis for many birds.
This sweet dove wasn't even bothered by me working in the garden as she sat in the shade.

Chances of some good rain in our forecast!

I forgot to point out that we also have very few mosquitoes currently too.

My containers are blooming nicely and we're havesting veggies.  While we don't look lush and green, we are still a productive garden.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Bare Beds and Good Veggies

It is certainly summer here at Garden on Sherlock Street.
Sunny, windy and hot is the typical forecast.  Rain has missed us lately.  The rain barrels are getting lower.  A front coming though tonight may bring some rain and is suppose to cool us off for a while.

We continue to watch our water usage as the city informs residents of the water situation.  If we don't get significant rain soon, there will be more restrictions on outdoor water use.

I have three beds in particular which are looking pretty bare since I'm not gushing water on to them.

This is what I refer to as the 'red bed.'  Doesn't look very red does it?

There were red tulips in the spring and it contains a day lily which barely survived last year's heat, a gaillardia which returned but is very small, a helianthemum which bloomed a bit but has stopped and prairie switchgrass, Panicum v. Cheyenne Sky which turns red in the fall and is actually looking good.

I added some red salvia and red petunias in the spring but they've basically dried up.  This bed only gets watered by the soaker hose as I rotate through them every couple of weeks.  I have plans to find more drought tolerant red plants to put in next year.

This bed looks ok mostly because it is full of dill.

I also planted zinnia seeds in here but they need a lot of water to look good and I'm only watering it with the soaker hose as I do with the previous bed so the zinnias look like this.

Not sure what direction I want this bed to go in for the long term.  Happy with the dill currently although I know it will turn brown when it's done.  Need to research plants for this bed.  No more zinnias.

This next bed just off the patio looks fabulous in the spring when the dame's rockets, bachelor buttons and love-in-a-mist are blooming.  Now that they're done, I have nothing.

Four o'clocks used to dominate this bed in mid to late summer but I had to water them a lot when we didn't get rain and that's not happening any more.  So, that makes three beds to get new plants for.  I have some ideas for this one already.

It's not all dismal in the flower beds.

The lavender is looking great!

I have sunflowers (native annual which needs no attention).  These are not the kind that make edible sunflower seeds.  They sure get tall and fill a space.

These bright orange cosmos are volunteers and seem to be fine with only occasional water.

In the veggie garden, we're harvesting carrots and lettuce still.  Also, plenty of yellow squash mostly because I apparently mixed up some seeds and planted extra yellow squash and no zucchini.  It happens.  Tomatoes are starting to ripen.  I've pulled a few onions to eat.  The basil is good.

Looking forward to spaghetti squash.

Waiting for this bell pepper to turn completely orange.

Amazed at the size of this year's jalapenos.

A surprising plant for this year's garden is lemon grass.
A friend shared these starts.
I put one in a container to maybe overwinter in the house.

I haven't cooked with it, but enjoy chewing on a leaf while in the garden.

My reduced watering plan for the containers this year is working out.  I've adjusted a couple of containers to more frequent waterings and a couple to less frequent waterings.  I now know that I watered the containers more than I needed to for years.  

So, the garden is supplying food and beauty along with some new challenges.
It's still the thing I love to do.

Be well and I hope it's cooler where you are currently!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Red Visitor

This pretty fellow checked out the water sources at Garden on Sherlock Street one hot afternoon.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Bouncing Betties Blooming

The bouncing betties are blooming.  The following is the write up I posted May 14, 2010.

This plant tucked in the corner by our air conditioner is no maintenance.  I got starts from my mother-in-law.  She dug some up, threw them in a plastic bag and sent them home with me before I had the place to plant them ready.  I left the bag sit on the patio for at least a week occasionally watering them.  I think all you need to get this plant to start is a piece of root that hasn't gotten completely dry.  Once I planted the starts, they settled right in.  It gets white and pink flowers in the summer.  I have to uproot some once in a while because they start creeping into other plants, but I never water it or anything.  In the spring, I knock down the previous year's stems and go on.  My MIL called them "Bouncing Betties."  Try googling that!  I found out it is a soapwort with a bit of foklore.  According to Bob Johnson (Founder of HerbFest; a 10 day lifestyle festival featuring herbs, perennials, free herbal seminars, recycling, cooking with herbs and a daily duck parade for the kids held annually in Wake Forest, N.C.),  the story of this plant goes something like this:  In our country's early formative years the West was being claimed by the "Easterners" and the trail from East to West Coast could take many a month and sometimes years to complete.  The winter months were especially harsh as one approached the mountainous areas so most groups would settle in and make a permanent camp to spend the winter or actually in some cases a couple of years. This break became a time to plant crops, resupply and get ready for the next leg of the journey.  One of the customs was to leave behind something useful for the next wagon train of pioneers coming after you. You might call it a useful welcoming gift.  One of the early pioneers started a trend and her name was Betty.  She knew the ladies had to find a way to clean the clothes etc. so she would take some cuttings from her Soapwort plant and plant several soapworts for the next group coming after her. Betty started a new chapter of herbal lore and legend.  Soapwort was used as a laundry powder/cleaner in pioneer days. It actually creates a cleansing soap and when the ladies were washing the clothes they would go break a branch of soapwort to use to clean the clothing.  Everywhere Betty camped she left an abundance of new soapwort plants.  Over time the plant became known as the "Bouncing Betty" plant in her honor for planting everywhere she camped before bouncing to a new location.

I think the flowers are sweet.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

2013 Back Garden Containers II

Here are comparison photos of the back garden containers.
May 20 to July 1

Except for a few small ones, the metal containers are only getting watered once a week.  The baskets, plastic containers and clay pots get watered every other day.

May 20
purple angelonia and silver falls dichondra

July 1
purple angelonia and silver falls dichondra

May 20
green sweet potato vine

July 1

green sweet potato vine
May 20
asparagus fern and rose moss   

July 1
asparagus fern and rose moss

May 20
ice plant

The birds attacked the ice plant.  There is still a sprig with leaves hiding from the birds by hanging between the trash cans.  I sat the little pot with an amaryllis bulb in the container to give it something more interesting.

July 1
ice plant

May 20
variegated sweet potato vine and wave petunias

This is filling in.  I have two small pots with starts of an ivy geranium sitting in there too.

variegated sweet potato vine, fiber optic grass and wave petunias 

May 20
ice plant and rose moss

I rearrange my small pots a lot.  The aloe vera and cacti are hanging out with this container currently.

July 1
ice plant and rose moss

May 20
white wave petunia

A volunteer morning glory surprised me in this container.  I added a small tomato cage to give it something to climb on and it seems to be happy.

July 1
white wave petunia and morning glory

May 20

This container is doing so well it became a lush begonia!
OK.  I killed the vincas in here.  Too little sun and I over watered them before leaving on our vacation.
One trip to the discount rack at a local greenhouse and we have color!  The begonias actually like being in the shade.  Much better choice.

July 1

May 20

Before these two containers had the same fate as the vincas above, I sat them out in the full sun.  Starting to get some blooms.  By the way, they are sitting on a bed of bachelor button plants.  I just lay them down in many places when they're done to mulch the bed and leave the seeds for next year.
July 1

May 20

These vincas are fine.  Got them into more sun sooner.

July 1

May 20

July 1

May 20
The biggest change is with the caladiums.  Need to get more of these for more containers.

July 1

May 20
white bacopa
gold dust mecardonia and wandering jew cuttings
gold dust mecardonia and wandering jew cuttings

This mixture of plants is looking so nice.  Very happy with the experiment.

July 1
white bacopa
gold dust mecardonia and wandering jew cuttings
gold dust mecardonia and wandering jew cuttings